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On August 4, 1892, the Borden house was just like a regular house with nothing unusual. The maid served breakfast to the head of the house, Andrew Borden and his wife, Abby. The youngest daughter Lizzie Borden was asleep and refused to eat breakfast, and Emma, the oldest-daughter was out of town visiting friends.

“Lizzie Borden took an axe
She gave her mother forty whacks.
When she saw what she had done.
She gave her father forty-one.
Lizzie Borden got away
For her crime she did not pay.”

Lizzie Borden
Lizzie Borden

Lizzie Borden, an unmarried 32-year-old Sunday School teacher, was also engaged in charitable work. Lizzie and her elder sister were never on the same page as their father and stepmother.

The Murder of Andrew Borden

On the morning of 4th August, Mr. Borden left the house to conduct his business. Abby Borden, maid Bridget Sullivan, and Lizzie Borden were among the house members when he left the house. When Andrew Borden returned he laid on the couch for a nap.

When Lizzie heard a noise inside the house she rushed and noticed that the screen door was open and her father was dead on the couch with his head smashed.

According to Lizzie’s testimony: she claimed to be in the backyard barn during the time of the murder at 11:15 A.M., and Maggie(Bridget Sullivan) was upstairs trying to sleep.

“Come down Quick! Father’s dead! Somebody’s come in and killed him” Lizzie shouted which made Maggie ran down the stairs to see the brutal murder scene of Andrew Border laying across the couch.

Andrew Borden was struck 11 times with a hatchet and there were no signs of struggle as Mr. Border was believed to be sleeping when he was attacked.

The Murder of Abbie Borden

After seeing her father on the couch, Lizzie asks Maggie to get the doctor across the street who is a friend of Lizzie’s. The whereabouts of Abby Borden are still unknown and when asked about Abby, Lizzie told that she heard her come in, go upstairs.

Maggie brought a neighbor with her, and when both walked upstairs they saw the body of Abby Border laying face down with head smashed worse than Andrew Borden. Abby had been struck 19 times with the same weapon as Andrew.

After the medical examiner looked at both the bodies and found out Abby’s blood was dark and congealed leading the examiner to believe that Abby was killed first.

Lizzie Borden
Crime scene photo of Abby Borden’s dead body (WIKIMEDIA COMMONS.)
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The Investigation into the Borden Murders

The fact that there was a stranger involved was ruled out because of two main reasons, one is the time difference between the killing, Andrew and Abby Borden were killed an hour apart so it is not possible for the killer- if it wasn’t Lizzie or Sullivan – to hide without getting noticed by Lizzie and Sullivan, and the possibility of stranger coming in and going out was ruled out as the front door and basement door were locked.

The investigators were out of options as every clue was leading to a dead-end, but eventually, the investigators discovered that Lizzie tried to buy prussic acid, known as cyanide from a drug store but was denied as she needed a prescription before she could purchase it.

After a few days, Alice Russell saw Lizzie burning one of her dresses at the stove in her house and when Rusell asked why she was destroying the dress, Lizzie said that it was stained and could not have been worn.

After Russell revealed the incident at his testimony, Judge charged Lizzie Borden with murders.

Lizzie’s statement during the inquest was filled with false statements as to when she said in her testimony that she was outside looking for a piece of iron when the attacks took place, but when the officers visited the barn they did not find any footprints in the dusty barn.

Trials of Lizzie Borden

The trial got off to quite a sensational start when the prosecutor bumped into the evidence table and the belongings inside the evidence bag failed which had the skulls of Andrew and Lizzie Borden, seeing this Lizzie fainted and the trial had to be adjourned

Lizzie Border on the cover of Leslie’s Illustrated Weekly (Wikimedia commons)

After the hearing resumed, Alice Russell was called to testify, Russell told that she saw Lizzie burning a blue dress in the kitchen and when asked about why she was burning the dress? Lizzie replied that it was covered in paint and could not be worn.

But the defense attorney George Robinson turned the same statement in Lizzie’s defense that why would Lizzie burn a piece of cloth in the kitchen where people can see her after being a suspect and knowing that can be used against her.

The trial went on for 14 days and the panel of 3 judges sided with the defense. Lizzie’s statement made during the inquest would not be heard in the courtroom and Lizzie was found not guilty.

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Later Life of Lizzie Borden

Lizzie and her sister Emma bought a house in the fashionable part of Fall River. At their new house, which Lizzy dubbed “Maplecroft”, they had a staff that included live-in maids, a housekeeper, and a coachman. Because Abby was ruled to have died before Andrew, her estate went first to Andrew and then, at his death, passed to his daughters as part of his estate; a considerable settlement, however, was paid to settle claims by Abby’s family. Emma moved out of the house in 1905 and never saw her sister again.

Borden House
The Borden House 1982(Wikimedia Commons)

Lizzie Borden lived out the rest of her days in relative quiet and privacy before dying in 1927 at the age of 67.

Other Suspects?

The murders of Andrew and Abby Borden still fascinate the public more than a hundred years after Lizzie Borden’s acquittal, while there were some other suspects but what made Lizzie prime suspect that no one could have fooled her doing work inside and killed her father and stepmother.

The most popular theory among fans is that Lizzie and maid Seville were in a relationship and when Abby found out about them, she did not take it too well and Andrew Borden bought a house for Abby’s half-sister rather than Lizzie Borden and her sister Emma. Lizzie had a falling out with her stepmother Abby that resulted in Lizzie going from calling Abby mother to Mrs. Borden.

So Lizzie and the maid killed Andrew and Abby, a movie was made in 2018 about this fan theory.

Some believe that Andrew’s illegitimate son, William committed the crime and both Lizzie and Emma conspired to cover up for William. While some believe in the involvement of Uncle Morse, but uncle Morse had left the house one hour before Abby’s murder.

Now that you’ve read about the Lizzie Borden murder story read about the murders that shook the world, Read how 900 people committed suicide in 5 minutes.

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